Word in Edgeways…..(shut up and listen!)

Have you ever had one of those conversations when you just cant get a word in edgeways? When the person opposite you seems to not even take a breath…..and you know that they will not stop until they have said their piece? I love a good conversation especially when the person you are with is interesting but who is also interested in you and what you have to say. There is nothing worse than not being part of a conversation but simply being on the end of a lecture and feeling like you have not been heard. Is the art of conversation dying….are we becoming a society of people who would prefer to stare into their screens in silence and when confronted by another person they are simply unable to interact? Recently I have experienced this situation, whereby the other person displayed the inability to have a 2 way conversation and the net effect is that nothing is achieved and you feel completely ignored and frustrated. If only we had a little more time for each other, to listen to one another and to be heard. Maybe next time I find myself in this situation I will follow the lead of the Jackdaw in this photo and  simply shout SHUT UP and LISTEN!

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Generalist, Specialist or Opportunist….which one am I?

You may wonder what has an image of 2 birds on a birdfeeder got to do with the title of this post, well yes I agree it may be a little tentative but let me see if I can explain my thought process….

So today I was sat at my desk considering job titles, roles and responsibilities and the necessary skills that fulfil them. What is it that leads us to believe that one person may be a better fit for a role than another? In the acting world people audition for roles, in the business world people interview for roles, so what is the difference between an audition and an interview? Stay with me here….in my opinion they are one and the same, to some degree we all act out the part that we think others want us to be. During an interview the candidate will behave in a certain manner, provide answers that they assume are what the interviewer wants to hear. In an audition you do the same, you play the part in a manner that you believe fits the character, only in an audition it is a little easier to distinguish between the actor and the character. In an interview the lines are more blurred.

Back to the title of this post, the question is during an interview are you seeing the generalist, specialist or opportunist at work and how do you ultimately make a decision? Does the person define the role or does the role define the person that you inevitably choose? Do you go with the individual who has all the skills on paper but who may lack the right personality, the person with the personality that fits the environment but who has less experience, the specialist who knows much about less or the generalist who knows little about much? It’s a tricky question and one that can lead to a bad decision.

My own preference would be to go with the generalist, someone who has a little knowledge about many areas as I believe that these individuals display a talent to absorb and utilise in a broader spectrum, with the ability to diversify and build on their knowledge. Of course it depends upon the role, but there is never a perfect fit and like the birds in the image, one may be the perfect build for birdfeeder,agile and fast, the other a perfect fit for the woodland environment camouflaged and stealthy, but as these 2 demonstrate, a willingness to learn new skills from another and adaptability are the key to success!

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Insignificance

Have you ever had the feeling that you are insignificant? A small fish in a very large pond? No matter how you try you make no impact upon the world around you? Well just think of this little fella, pretty insignificant on a scale of 1 to 10, small, not especially eye catching to you and me. if I wasn’t aiming a lens at the flower I probably wouldn’t even have noticed him. But, think a little more and you realise that he is important and very significant. Without him the chap up the food chain may go hungry, and the chap above him would also go hungry and so on and so on and in the very worst case scenario a whole eco system could fail…all reliant upon this little guy. For however long he lives he is important, he has many jobs to do and others rely upon him. Alone he has significance and in numbers their worth is multiplied. So put that into context. You alone support many around and above you, you together with other ‘small fish’ provide the foundations for the larger fish in this pond of life. Without your contribution others would not succeed, they ultimately need you regardless of their own abilities. So the next time you start to feel insignificant, just think of this little moth and remember that you are the foundation of something bigger, you are significant.

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New Beginnings (and old habits….which way is up? )

It’s strange but I find that the more you try to change your life the more it remains the same. For some odd reason all the things that you have always done, continue to be done regardless of how much you try to stop!

For example, I have now decided to try to get fit, something I have dabbled with may times before, but this time I am determined….and so I am removing all temptation from my cupboards and draws in preparation for my attempt. I really should not use the word attempt, as that denotes that I will fail! I am signing up to a new gym, and have even contemplated setting myself new goals to work alongside the whole get fit thing in the hope that they all combine to actually work this time!

There are other areas of my life that I am also determined to change for the better, such as my mental wellbeing. For some years now I have been driven to succeed in my job, however after 3 years I feel I have been somewhat misguided in my efforts and have taken a long hard and very critical look at my life and more especially applied the word ‘why’ to all the things that I have been doing. This blog to some degree will change from being purely about photography (still a love of mine) and become more about how I see what I see but also document my journey from here on in.

I was 41 when I started this blog, as you may have read in my intro.

I am now 46, a whole 5 years down the track to wherever and yet I still feel no sense of purpose or direction.

This blog may help to unravel some of the situations I may find myself in, it may not, but I hope that by sharing with anyone who may be out there, I may find I am not alone in this feeling of ‘why’!

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Michelin crumbs

Taking a break by the calm waters of Blea Tarn in the stunning Langdale valley in Lakeland I noted a rather brazen bird scrutinising me from the safety of his woodland perch. As I approached the shoreline of the tarn he followed me closely, flitting from branch to branch as I sat down on a rather perfectly positioned rock and proceeded to unwrap my butter croissant saved from breakfast. Only I didn’t realise that this little feathered friend had a penchant for croissants too! Eagerly sitting alongside me he had no concern as he cleared up all the crumbs I provided him with, choosing to sit just inches from me and observe every mouthful ruefully, hinting for more to land in his direction. After several minutes he had had his fill and with a flick of his wings he headed back to the branches of his woodland world, no doubt to wait for the next meal to walk on by! I will call him Robin Hood!!  

 

Selfie 

Just when did the selfie appear? Who was the first selfie? And who named the selfie “the selfie”? In a world where we are taught to share, the selfie has become the ultimate way to share photos of yourself! So who has tried this? Come on be honest, I bet you have… And if u haven’t give it a go! My first efforts were rather scary, but after a shaky start I’ve managed to achieve a couple of half decent selfies! I don’t think I will ever enjoy being photographed but selfies can be fun!  

 

Fitness Thoughts……

Having had a break from blogging and photography, mainly due to work, I have decided to get back to it! Why, because I have missed it and need an outlet for my creative side that has been ignored for too long!

So, what’s new, well for too long I have been eating all the wrong things and doing very little exercise, the perils of a desk job coupled with an eternal love of anything chocolate add up to a very unhealthy me. Ive never been overweight as such, although at only 5ft in height any additional weight is felt in an instant, but I have noticed a lack of energy and a general feeling of lethargy and so I have decided to do something about it.

Having an inbuilt dislike of gyms and the inability to run anywhere let alone a 5k run coupled with the memories of years of dance classes and rigid routines I decided to go with a fitness dvd, but not any old celeb based instant transformation package, no this is a real programme aimed at getting you to committ to getting fit and doing it at a pace thats right for you.

 

Tonight I commenced my second round of training, 25mins per day 5 days per week, rotating cardio with selected muscle group activities…..all I can say is after the last few months of working out I thought I was fit!! But one thing is for sure, after this I WILL BE!

But when youre working out its amazing at how your mind focuses on the job in hand, but also where it can wander. The thoughts you have whilst counting away the reps, I call this the Fitness Philosophy. What drives a person, what motivates a person, does it come from within or does it originate from another, all questions that we can ponder whilst our mind is focusing in on our body. Its true of many things in life, do we simply follow the lead of others or do we instigate the plan ourselves, do you do as you see others doing or do you follow your own path? In most of our lives we are told to do things, we follow instruction, we do as we believe others would want us to do, but does that make us happy? We can absorb what others deem to be a successful formula and fail miserably, yet we can make are own decisions and find happiness.

Yet here I am, following a programme that is sold as being one of the most successful fitness programmes available, the proof will be in 25 days!

Maybe following the crowd does have its benefits after all…………………

 

 

Follow the crowd

Hope and Loss

I havent blogged for a while, time seems to have leapt forward without me whilst I try to hold on to the past.

Why I try to hold onto the past I do not know as much of the past has been a series of non events and disappointments, but there have been moments when I have felt so utterly happy that I do not wish to ever let them go.

But let go I must, at least of one source of happiness.

My beloved companion Finlay Pusscat sadly lost his battle with an undiagnosed condition. For months I had been treating him for allergy based asthma, a constant round of steroid tablets and vet visits to monitor him. But in the last 3 months he suffered  a dramatic loss of weight, and lost his appetite completely. He had always loved his food and so this was a real change in him and so off to the vets we went. Following blood tests for thyroid conditions that returned negative they really didnt have a clue and so I took him for a second opinion to a more estalished vet in the town. Sadly they didnt have too much of an idea either, deciding to treat him for dehydration and trying to reestablish his feeding, to no avail.

In the last week of his life I fed him by hand, using a tiny syringe to try to at least get some nourishment to his frail body, each time he struggled but relented occassionally to swallow a mouthful here and there.

I cannot describe the sense of failure in my efforts, the sad look of resignation in his eyes, the matted fur around his mouth where I had clumsily tried to feed him but like a baby he had simply let it run from his lips down his once pristine white fur.

He could no longer even walk, struggling to make the distance between the corner of the lounge where he chose to hide himself away and the litter tray, only to find he could not manage to step into the tray and in utter despair simply fell to his knees.

I took the heartbreaking decision, but the kindest decision for Finlay, to have him put to sleep. I couldnt bear to see him suffer any longer, the call was made and I rang my Dad. I knew I couldnt do this alone and ultimately there is no one else I could ask in such a situation. The journey over to the vets was silent, nothing to be said.

I cant talk about the actual event, it brings me to tears at the thought of watching him slip away, the light going out in those beautiful eyes, the clinical manner in which the vet dealt with it, no sense of compassion, no second chances, just a cold table and a sterile smell.

We took him back to my parents, lifted his limp lifeless body from the carrier and placed him on his favourite blanket, his favourite mouse now tail less and loved placed between his paws along with his name tag so that he wouldnt forget his name. Dad placed him into the ground, tears flowing down all our faces as we said our final goodbye.

He is at rest now, alongside my other boy Sox, no more pain, no more fight.

His brother Slipper is lost, endlessly trawling around the house searching for his brother, not knowing that he will never appear around the door, or share a play fight or cuddle again.

But to Finlay, if he could hear me I would say thank you, thank you for all the companionship you gave to me when others showed none, thank you for the fun times, playing in the warm sunshine and pouncing on my toes under the duvet, thank you for listening to my every complaint or rant or moan and for choosing to lay next to me on the sofa every night without fail and provide comfort in times of solitude. Thank you for the love you showed to me without condition, for simply being there and being a most beautiful soul.

I miss you and always will, goodnight my little boy, Finny, Finlaypusscat, sorry I couldnt make you better.

Love mum xx

Faithful Friend

A tiny kitten pressed tight against  his brother, both dishevelled and a little scared. Uprooted from the comfort of the stable where they had spent their first few months, accompanied by a Shetland pony and the farms population of mice. Maybe that’s where they both learned the art of the pounce practiced so precisely on my duvet protected toes! Slipper, my slightly tubby tabby cat is the softy of the duo, his brother Finlay being the more feisty of the pair. As a kitten Slipper would hide behind his smaller brother and gaze up at me from soft green eyes, a hint of panic and the urge to flee suddenly quelled by the desire to be loved and fussed, which rapidly grew into an obsession. I call him my stripy tiger, his fur plush and dense, pale blonde mixed with every shade of brown form the most perfect of tabby markings, his eyes defined by dark sweeping lines giving him the look of Cleopatra, far too pretty to be a male everyone says. Patiently and somewhat regally he waits for my return from a long day at the office,  always ready at the door with a cry of excitement and a well rehearsed ballet as he dances on his toes in and around my feet. No sooner have I sat down then he is there, face pressed against mine, whiskers tickling and he nuzzles in as close as he can, claws stretched in pure delight and deployed to ensure I do not escape from his embrace. Slipper is 8yrs old now, yet still retains his kitten-like appeal, trusting and loveable, always accepting of attention but completely unselfish in his desire to love and be loved, a truly beautiful cat inside and out.

Slipper 2013